verb (used with object), tugged, tugging.
to pull at with force, vigor, or effort.
to move by pulling forcibly; drag; haul.
to tow (a vessel) by means of a tugboat.
verb (used without object), tugged, tugging.
to pull with force or effort: to tug at a stuck drawer.
to strive hard; labor; toil.
an act or instance of tugging; pull; haul.
a strenuous contest between opposing forces, groups, or persons; struggle: the tug of young minds in a seminar.
that by which something is tugged, as a rope or chain.
trace2 ( def 1 ).
any of various supporting or pulling parts.

1175–1225; Middle English toggen to play-wrestle, contend; akin to Old English togian to tow1

tugger, noun
tugless, adjective
untugged, adjective

1. yank, jerk, wrench.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tug (tʌɡ)
vb (when intr, sometimes foll by at) , tugs, tugging, tugged
1.  to pull or drag with sharp or powerful movements: the boy tugged at the door handle
2.  (tr) to tow (a vessel) by means of a tug
3.  (intr) to work; toil
4.  a strong pull or jerk: he gave the rope a tug
5.  tugboat, Also called: towboat a boat with a powerful engine, used for towing barges, ships, etc
6.  a hard struggle or fight
7.  a less common word for trace
[C13: related to Old English tēon to tow1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 13c., from weak grade of O.E. teohan "to pull, drag," from P.Gmc. *teukh- "pull," from PIE *deuk- "to pull, to lead" (see duke). Related to tow (1). The noun is recorded from c.1500; meaning "small steamer used to tow other vessels" is recorded
from 1817. Phrase tug of war (1670s) was originally figurative, "the decisive contest, the real struggle."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The two sections snap together with magnets, letting them break apart when the
  cord gets tugged.
Still, the political mood increasingly favours more regulation, and many expect
  the reforms to be tugged in that direction.
Anything that can't glom on to something rigid is tugged and tossed by each
  ocean swell.
Once a trout even tugged on my zipper on the back of my dry suit.
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